/ St. Clair's Scorching New History of a Decade of War|
May 1 / 3, 2004
Watching Niagara: Stupid Leaders, Useless
Spies, Angry World
Gringo, We're Going Home: Latin American
Troops Flee Iraq
An Army Vet on Torture in Iraq: Abu Ghraib
as My Lai?
Blood Spilling: Osama, Bush and Sharon
Speak the Same Language
Seems Like Old Times in Fallujah
Bush's Torturous Logic: Shocked, Shocked,
Suicide Bomber: Neocons, Nihilists and
29 / 30, 2004
A Pawn in Their Game: the Unlonesome Death
of Pat Tillman
The Warden's Tour
Fallujah and the Warsaw Ghetto: the Banality
Terrorism and Assassination: the Ultimate
The Fallujah Mutinies
Meet Congressman Know--Nothing:
The Politics of the Numb
The Dirty Work of Canadian Intelligence
Seeking the Evil One
Flag--Draped Coffins and the Seattle Times
Rwanda and the F***** Word
The Iraqi Alamo: a CNN/CIA Production
The War Comes Home
We are the Barbarians
Iraq, the US and an Old Lesson
April 27, 2004
The Colombia 3 Acquitted
Chalabi as Prosecutor
Terrorist Threats and Political
British Generals Resist Calls for
More Troops to Aid Americans in Iraq
Presidential Letters: The Day I
Was Asked to Feed an Elephant
The Empire in Denial and the Denial
April 26, 2004
Crossing the Shia Line: US Troops
Prepare to Enter Najaf
Trading Places: Will the US Go the Way of the USSR?
Protest, Rebellion, Commitment
Lies About the Patriot Act
Inspired by Pat Tillman?
Bremer's De--De--Ba'athjfication Gambit
Anarchy in Our Souls
Vanunu and the Terrible Secret
April 24 / 25, 2004
Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Kerry
and Bush Melt into One
Stryking Out: a General, GM and the Army's Latest Tank
A Revitalized Women's Movement? Let's Hope So
A Warning to Those Who Dare Criticize Israel in the Land of Free
October Surmise: a Case of Worst Scenarios
"Submit or Die": Iraq and the American Borg
Haiti's Return to the Future
The CIA Killed Pat Tillman
Does Anybody Know Anything?
The Return of Saddam's Generals
Welcome to La Paz: a Vacation in Tear Gas
Whistling in the Dark: Israel, Palestine and Bush
Iraq is Utterly Unlike Vietnam...
Life on the Outside: a Review
Letter from Australia: Why an Independent Won Sydney
Agriculture's Bullied Market
Al Aronowitz, Bob Dylan and The Beatles
Jones, Holt, Albert, LaMorticella
April 23, 2004
The Only Solution is Immediate Withdrawal
Imagination Deficit Disorder
Contractors and Mercenaries: the Rising Corporate Military Monster
Country Joe Band, 2004: "What Are We Fighting For?"
All Things Are Not Equal: the Perils of Globalization
A Bitch Called Wanda
Sierra Club, Inc.
Yellow Caked in the Face
Graveyard of Justifications: Glossary
of the Iraqi Occupation
April 22, 2004
When Terror Came to Basra: "I
Saw a Minibus of Children on Fire"
The Wall Behind Disengagement
Why is Kucinich Still in the Race?
Street Fighting Man? Kucinich's Pulled Punches
Bush Owes America Answers on Iraq
Why We Get It Wrong
Undoing the Latches
Why They Fast: Remembering the Victims of the World Bank
The New York Times from 30,000 Feet
Yeats on Iraq
Colombia's Forgotten Prisoners
Bush's Taliban Drug Deal
George 1 to George 2
Iraq and Vietnam
Alarcon Meets the Editors
Charade in the Desert
Only Major Policies Changes Can
Help Washington Now
May 1 / 3, 2004
Victims of Our Own High-Flown Morality
Guys" Who Can Do No Wrong
By ROBERT FISK
are we surprised at their racism, their brutality, their sheer callousness
towards Arabs? Those American soldiers in Saddam's old prison at Abu
Ghraib, those young British squaddies in Basra came -- as soldiers often
come -- from towns and cities where race hatred has a home: Tennessee
many of "our" lads are ex--jailbirds themselves? How many support
the British National Party? Muslims, Arabs, "cloth heads",
"rag heads", "terrorists", "evil". You
can see how the semantics break down.
to that the poisonous, racial dribble of a hundred Hollywood movies
that depict Arabs as dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy and violent people
-- and soldiers are addicted to movies -- and it's not difficult to see
how some British scumbag will urinate into the face of a hooded man,
how some American sadist will stand a hooded Iraqi on a box with wires
tied to his hands.
sexual sadism -- the bobby--sox girl soldier who points at a man's genitals,
the mock orgy in Abu Ghraib prison, the British rifle in the prisoner's
mouth -- might be a crazed attempt to balance all those lies about the
Arab world, about the desert warrior's potency, the harem, polygamy.
Even today, we still show the revolting Ashanti on our television stations,
a feature film about the kidnapping of the wife of an English doctor
by Arab slave--traders, which depicts Arabs as almost exclusively child--molesters,
rapists, murderers, liars and thieves. It stars -- heaven spare us --
Michael Caine, Omar Sharif and Peter Ustinov and was made partly in
we now depict Arabs in our films as the Nazis once depicted Jews. But
Arabs are fair game. Potential terrorists to a man -- and a woman -- they
must be softened up, "prepared", humiliated, beaten, tortured.
The Israelis use torture in the Russian Compound in Jerusalem. Now we
torture in Saddam's old jail outside Baghdad and -- for this is where
British soldiers beat a young Iraqi to death last summer -- in the former
office of Saddam's most murderous chemical warfare fascist, the awful
the officers? Didn't the British lieutenants and captains and majors
in the Queen's Lancashire Regiment know that their lads were kicking
to death a young Iraqi hotel worker last summer?
man's fate -- and the documentary evidence proving that he was murdered
-- was first revealed by The Independent on Sunday in January. Didn't
the CIA boys at Abu Ghraib know that Ivan "Chip" Frederick
and Lynddie England, two of the American soldiers in the photographs
published last week, were obscenely humiliating their prisoners?
course they did. The last time I saw Brigadier General Janis Karpinski,
commander of the 800th Military Police Brigade in Iraq, she told me
she had visited Camp X--Ray in Guantanamo and found nothing wrong with
it. I should have guessed then that something had gone terribly wrong
remember how in Basra, on the eve of a visit by Tony Blair, I visited
the British Army's press office in the city to ask about the death of
26--year--old Baha Mousa. The dead man's family had given me British documents
proving that he had been beaten to death in custody, that the British
Army had itself tried to pay off the family if they would give up any
legal claim against the soldiers who so cruelly killed their son.
was met with yawns and a total inability to furnish information about
the event. I was told to call the Ministry of Defence in London. The
officer I spoke to appeared weary, even impatient about my inquiry.
There was not a single word of compassion for the dead man.
in September last year, General Karpinski was with a small group of
journalists in Abu Ghraib -- the same ghastly prison in which thousands
were put to death by Saddam, the same jail in which Frederick and England
and their American buddies were standing their hooded Iraqi prisoner
on a box with supposed electrodes on his hands -- and General Karpinski
took some delight in escorting us to the old Saddam execution chamber.
led the way into the concrete room with its raised dais and gallows,
and -- in front of us all -- triumphantly pulled the gallows lever so
that the trap door clanged down. She urged us to read the last messages
scrawled on the walls of the neighbouring death row by Iraqis awaiting
Saddam's vengeance. But there was something wrong about her prison tour.
was no clear judicial process for the prisoners and there was no mention
-- until I brought it up -- of the mortar attack on the American--held
jail which killed six of the inmates in their tents in August, when
General Karpinski was already in command of Iraq's 8,000 prisoners.
They had been given "counselling", she told us. "They
seemed to think we had been using them as some kind of sand--bag."
Abu Ghraib was then being attacked by insurgents four out of every seven
nights. Now it is attacked twice every night.
she claimed in answer to a question of mine that there were "six
prisoners claiming to be American and two claiming to be from the UK".
But when General Ricardo Sanchez, the senior Iraqi officer in Iraq,
later denied this, no one asked how the confusion had arisen. Was General
Karpinski making it up? Or was General Sanchez not telling us the truth?
Prisoners' names were often confused, Arabic script was mis--transliterated,
men went "missing" from the files. It spoke of a whole culture
in which Iraqis -- especially Iraqi prisoners -- were somehow not worthy
of the same rights as us Westerners; which is why, I suppose, the occupying
powers in Iraq always give us the statistics of Westerners' deaths but
care not the slightest to discover the statistics of the deaths of Iraqis,
the very people they are mandated to protect and care for.
few weeks ago, I was chatting to a young American soldier off Saadoun
Street in the centre of Baghdad. He was giving sweets to street kids
and mimicking the Arabic for "thank you": sukran. Did he know
Arabic, I innocently asked. He grinned at me. "I know how to shout
at them," he said. And there you have it.
are all victims of our high--flown morality. "They" -- the Arabs,
Muslims, "cloth heads", "rag heads", "terrorists"
-- are of a lesser breed, of lower moral standards. They are people to
be shouted at. They have to be "liberated" and given "democracy".
But we little band of brothers, we dress ourselves up in the uniforms
of righteousness. We are marines or military police or a Queen's regiment
and we are on the side of good. "They" are on the side of
"evil". So we can do no wrong.
so it appeared until those shameful pictures last week tore apart the
whole bandwagon and proved that race hatred and prejudice is an old
historical inheritance of ours. We used to call Saddam the Hitler of
Iraq. But wasn't Hitler one of "us", a Westerner, a citizen
of "our" culture? If he could kill six million Jews, which
he did, why should we be surprised that "we" can treat Iraqis
like animals? Last week came the photographs to prove we can.
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